Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Slimming World Journey - Week 5

So I am now 5 weeks into my Slimming World journey and they have flown by! I've found it much easier to stick to than I had expected. Once I familiarised myself with the different food groups, Super Free, Free, Healthy Extras and Syns I've slowly been able to prep meals without having to refer to my hand book (Slimming World bible) for everything.
There's no magic trick with this diet, it's basically eating right, cutting out the junk but still allowing yourself the odd treat now and then. I look forward to the weigh ins but dread them at the same time, I'm afraid to go up in weight but delighted to step on those scales and see I've gone down, it's a bit of a love / hate relationship!
Unfortunately I haven't been able to stay for the group talk since my registration week as I'm usually rushing home to put Luke to bed because the OH has training most Tuesday evenings or else he's working but I am hoping to sit in on a group talk in the next week or so.
I will admit last week I was bit bold and indulged in Pringles and chocolate but I'm back on the wagon firmly now. I received my first 1/2 stone award last week and it's made me more determined and eager to get my next award at a stone weight loss.
Even though I can't stick around for the group talk each week I find the Facebook group a great help for motivation, recipes, hints and tips and general positivity, the members are so friendly and it's so nice to see them encourage each other, something that is of a great help and inspiration when you are having a down day.
My favourite meal at the moment is my weekend dinner, in place of pizza and frozen chips, I now have SW chips which are delicious and a wrap based pizza topped with ham, cheese and tomato, it's so yummy.
I've had 2 alcoholic drinks since I joined and that was 2 glasses of wine on a night out for a birthday celebration. I have a lot going on from this weekend, nights out, work parties and lunches so I am a bit anxious as to how I'll manage but hopefully I'll be ok and make the right food choices.
I still need to up my physical activity and include some regular exercise in my daily routine, you'd think running around after a toddler would do it though!
I can already feel the effects of it on my mentality as well, I beginning to feel like the old me again, pre baby body and my clothes are starting to fit better than they have done in ages. It's so satisfying knowing that I am fuelling my body with the right foods.
All in all I'm 100% happy that I signed up to Slimming World to help me on my weight loss journey and I can't wait to report back in another few weeks where I'll hopefully have hit another milestone along the way :)

Now for the important bit:

Total amount of weight lost in 5 weeks: 11.5lbs

I am beyond delighted with this and it really is such an incentive to keep going when I see the scales coming down every week.

Are you a member of Slimming World? Or using another method to help you on a weight loss journey? I'd love to hear all about it.

You can read about my first week of Slimming World here.

Monday, 8 December 2014

The Santa Experience

On Saturday we took Luke on his first official Santa visit by going to The Santa Experience in Dunnes Stores on Patrick Street in Cork city.
First of all I never even knew there was a whole other floor in Dunnes Stores so I wasn't too sure what to expect and second of all it beat a lot of other places price wise. It was €10 per child and €2 per adult which was quite reasonable.
We went up to the top floor where it had been turned into Santa's grotto. We handed in our information sheet about Luke to the girl at the desk and then waited in line to be called.
After hearing our names off we went with the friendly elves through to Santa's post room where Luke proceeded to sit on all of the "sacks of post" and then try and run back out the door we came in through.
Soon after we walked down a lit up cave like walk way and went into the polar bear express type area, Luke was quite impressed with this, the elves were telling us about the baby polar bear and it's Mum and Dad and he kept calling "Baby", very cute.
Then it was onto the reindeer stables where there was a big sleigh waiting, after a quick chat about the reindeers the elves took the kids for a spin in the sleigh through to the next room here it was "snowing" and we would wait for our turn to see Santa. So far so good.
Santa's room was very good, a nice big tree, a fire, couch's for the parents to sit on and the kids on the floor while Santa had a chat with them. There was also Santa's bed in the corner which Luke spent the entire time trying to climb up on. On the information sheet we'd handed in at the start it asked for 2 things about your child that Santa could mention which I thought was a good idea. However Santa was wrapping up his friendly chat and he had forgotten about Luke so we had to say it where he quickly asked him how his pet dog, Murphy was, gave him a present and that was it. I did feel like Santa rushed through his chat with the kids, I'm not sure if it was because of the time of day, it was almost 5pm and he was just losing interest. I also wasn't too impressed when he Ssshh'd Luke when he let out a screech when we tried to keep him still for 2 seconds. I didn't get any pictures in Santa's room as there was no flash photography allowed.
We sat down for a picture with Santa which cost us €8, not bad really for an 8x10 and they take a few so you can pick which one you want, if not all of them.
The present itself wasn't really suitable for a 1 year old, a pop up book, it was no sooner opened and Luke had a bit of it ripped out. The whole thing lasted about 30mins
Overall it was a good experience, a 1 year old's attention span for these kind of things wouldn't be great and the time for the experience was ideal.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

A To Do List For November - A Round Up

So at the start of November I set myself some goals for the month which you can read all about here. Now that the month has been and gone I suppose it' only right that I let you know whether I actually managed to stick to it! (That was the purpose of me posting online, an incentive to get these things done!)
So here you go, just how many of these tasks did I complete:

  • ü Two shelves for the utility cupboard - Bought and put in place, although we only need one in the end 
  • ü Paint the utility cupoboard - Done and dusted, it looks so much better and more organised now
  • ✗ New rug for the living room - Unsuccessful, I just can't find one I want 
  • ✗ I have yet to try out the Slimming Wraps, I will be trying them this week though
  • ✗ The spare room has just become even more cluttered by stuff, this will take longer than I thought
  • ✗ Toddler Group didn't happen but that's because our Fridays have been taken up with visits to nanny's garden and meeting friends
  • ü Bringing my lunch to work - This has been hugely successful due to joining Slimming World
So 3 out of 7, could have been better but the utility cupboard took longer than expected whic gave me less time for the spare room and it is impossible to find a rug the right size and design that I want!

I've more than enough going on in December so I won't be making any monthly plans for this month, but expect my usual January aims and goals and New Year resolutions :)

Happy December Everyone 

A Time For Giving

Last year I mentioned to the OH briefly about making a donation at Christmas a regular thing, we would pick a charity each year and donate in some way, be it financially or donating items such as clothing, food etc. We thought no more about it until yesterday when we had both decided to do it without remembering last years conversation and telling each other last night.

The OH has donated to the Mercy Hospital Fundraising Cancer Appeal in Cork this year and signed up for monthly donations. This is an issue close to his heart and he felt it appropriate to have this as his charity for 2015. The fundraising from this appeal is to help support the hospital in delivering the highest quality of care to its patients as well as supporting advancements and innovations for the care and treatments of it's patients. He signed up for this with a fundraiser who called to the house but you can find out more info by clicking on the link above.

I have chosen Focus Ireland to make a donation to this year. My drive to work recently has been filled with headlines on the radio of how the number of homeless people on the streets of Cork and nationwide have increased and I think the tragic news of Jonathan Corrie, a homeless man found dead in a doorway in Dublin this week has driven it home for me. Cork Simon Community have said that the number of people sleeping on streets of Cork have risen by 500% in the last 3 years. I find this statistic astonishing and it's made me determined to do what I can to help the situation, be it big or small, all of these donations together make a difference. For  more information please click on the link above.

And lastly while I was discussing this with my work colleague, she suggested doing something in the office too. We have 420 students between our 2 sites and decided that the St Vincent De Paul Food Appeal would be a great idea., donating food to families who will find it a struggle to feed their loved ones this festive season. We are asking our students to donate items from a shopping list provided by SVP and leave them in Reception up until December 22nd when we will arrange for someone form our local SVP office to collect the items. Please click on the above for more information about the 2014 Food Appeal.
We spend most of December running around trying to find the perfect Christmas gifts for our loved ones and it's easy to forget that there are people out there struggling, be it financially, fighting an illness or just getting through each day at a time with whatever resources they can find at the time. While these kind of donations are required all year long, I think Christmas is a good place to start.
Do you donate or volunteer with any organisations? I'd love to hear your stories. 

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Me & Mine November

Can you believe that 2014 is almost over?! Most definitely the fastest year, it feels like only yesterday we were taking our January pictures for this project.
November has been a busy one mostly to at home though. Our bedroom has been painted, the utility cupboard has finally had a bit of a makeover and at long last the garden is being tended to. We haven't been doing anything particularly exciting this month, its always a month for hibernation for me before December kicks off with all of the Christmas festivities.
Sadly our month ends on a bit of a bum note with a car incident yesterday, a freak accident where our car rolled out of the drive way and hit a car across the way, just what you need before Christmas eh?! Fortunately no one was hurt, it could have been a lot worse.
Our portrait for this month was taken on Luke's first trip to the woods and it finally includes Murphy, our dog who isn't actually facing the camera in any of the pictures! They aren't the best quality but I was wrong when I thought trying to get a toddler to stay still was hard, try getting a toddle AND a dog to sit still is much harder! Anyhow here we are, our family portrait for November:

This month Luke loves:
  • Gardening
  • Wearing his wellies
  • Playing with Murphy
This month Dad loves:
  • Seeing the garden improve
  • Cooking nice dinners for Mum ;)
  • Teaching Luke new things
This month Mum loves:
  • Watching Luke and Murphy become even more close
  • Joining Slimming World
  • Having most of my Christmas shopping done

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Sit Back, Relax And Listen

I'm a huge music fan, all kinds, well most kinds, I'm not a fan of jazz or swing music. My mp3 player has around 2000 songs on it from either end of the spectrum and it's mostly on shuffle so one minute it will be blaring a bit of Metallica and the next song could be a soppy love song from Westlife.
Music is my release, I put on my favourite song or album and I instantly feel better, the drive to work might seem long and tedious but blaring my music in the car makes that journey easier to do, putting in my head phones and going for a walk refreshes my mind and who hasn't had an album that's helped you to get through a heartbreak?! (In my next life I WILL be the singer of a rock band!)
Most of all though music relaxes me , chills me the F out and there's nothing I love more than putting on some tunes, sitting back with a few candles, possibly a glass of wine, ear phones in, eyes closed and listening to some music that takes my mind off of everything. I have a play list of my favourite songs to chill out to, I've a few select few on here, have a listen here:

  • First up is a track from one of my all time favourite bands, it's Jimmy Eat World with Disintegration. I drift away into a pool of nostalgia everytime I listen to this. This song is so emotional, I had to think hard if it it actually is a chill out song but for me it is, I would put this one the list I'd play going to sleep. I've been lucky enough to see these guys live 3 times, outstanding.

  • Placebo's version of Running Up That Hill is a chilling track that can take me away from reality in the first few seconds. I love Brian Molko's voice and alongside the piano in this one it's haunting, perfect for a bit of escapism

  • If you haven't listened to the composer Ludovico Einaudi before, I really suggest that you do. I was never a big fan of classical music until I listened to him, I love the classical piano. His music is featured on a lot of TV ad and programs so you may have heard his stuff before. Primavera is one of my favourites, I used to put this on going to sleep when I was pregnant and it really helped me to drift off when I used to find it hard to do so. I have his double cd, Islands and would definitely recommend it for some down time.

      • Massive Attack with Teardrop make the play list too, I think this could a popular choice but the opening beat is mesmerising, it hits you instantly and before I know it I'm floating along with the rhythm. This song is about the death of Jeff Buckley, a friend of the singer Elizabeth Fraser, I think knowing the history of the song makes all that more intriguing. 

      • The Noose by A Perfect Circle is another eerie track that I associate a certain time of my life with and sitting back listening to this song takes me right back to that time, it gives me that flighty kind of feeling and about 2minutes into the track I'm fully immersed into the silky tones of James Maynard Keenan's voice.

      Of course these days I don't get as much time as I would like to stick in those head phones and listen to this playlist, the baby monitor above my bed may have something to do with that ;)
      Do you have any particular songs that you find relaxing, that you can chill out to? I'd love to hear about them, we might even have a few of the same! 

      I'm linking this post up with wonderful #AllAboutYou Link and Pin Party 

      Monday, 17 November 2014

      I Took That Step

      Right I wasn't going to blog about this, well not this early on but I've changed my mind partly because it'll help me to be even more disciplined in regards to achieving my goal.

      I took that step, one I've been putting off for ages now. I joined Slimming World. I have one week down already. Joining Slimming World itself wasn't the step I needed to take but getting my self in check to get back in proper control of my body was and joining Slimming World is my way of doing it.
      I think I was in denial about the amount of weight I had put on since being pregnant with Luke and I'm sad to say I am still 3 stone over my pre pregnancy weight. Foolishly I assumed it would go away by itself but of course it doesn't, sure it's super easy to gain the extra weight but not so easy to lose it as I have discovered. Having high blood pressure is also another push for me to do this.

      About 8 months before I got pregnant I had joined the local gym and loved it. Now don't go thinking I was in there every day lifting weights, pumping iron, running miles on the treadmill because I wasn't. I did try and go 4 times a week after work though and did 40 / 45 mins of cardio on 3 different machines, the treadmill, cross trainer and bike. That might not seem like much to some but for me it was fine, I got back into some kind of shape and for the first time in a long time I was comfortable and happy in my own skin. I kept going until about 9 / 10 weeks pregnant but then the tiredness hit and I was lucky if I made it home from work before I fell asleep at the wheel, needless to say I haven't been back since. I was considering rejoining but that time after work I used to spend in the gym is now taken up with getting as much quality time in with Luke as I can between me getting home from work at 6pm and him going to bed at 7.30pm. The OH usually works until 10pm so I am housebound most evenings.

      I tried this, that and the other to lose the baby weight but didn't stick to anything so that's where Slimming World came in. Myself and my boss joined a local group near our office, took the plunge, got weighed and began our journey to slimmer versions of ourselves! We attended the group talk our first night and I personally found it very motivating, everyone was very encouraging of each other.

      It takes a bit of getting used to what with knowing the syn value things and what's a free food and what isn't but the whole concept of the program is quite simple. For those who don't know how it works this is it:

      Every day you are allowed: Unlimited free and super free foods, 1 option from the Healthy A list, 1 option from the Healthy B list and 15 syns which are like points. You get all of this information in the booklet they give you when you sign up as well as details to register online which I have found to be a great source of information especially for recipes. I'm happy to say I've tried out 5 of the Slimming World recipes and so far they have all been very tasty. Simple recipes that you would see everyday but with different versions of the ingredients, healthier versions. You can buy their own chocolate bars at the meetings, I got one packet as they are handy to have if you fancy something sweet.
      Honestly I'm still able to eat so much that it doesn't feel like a diet, more like a lifestyle change. The book and folder you are given on day one has become my bible and I personally need the discipline of the weekly weigh to keep myself on track. There is also a Facebook page for our local group which is so handy because the more experienced people seem to help out the beginners and everyone can share their thoughts and recipes.

      Week 1 down and I am 3.5 pounds lighter! I am pleased with that and I hope that I can keep up that amount of weight loss every week for a while. I won't reveal my starting weight just yet as to be honest I'm still in shock over it (and I'm just not that brave yet!) but I would hope to be able to reveal it once I've reached my current goal. I'll try and post here weekly about it along with what I've been eating, if not I should definitely get around to doing it fortnightly.

      This week I hope to be more active before our next weigh in on Tuesday. I've meal planned a few days in advance and batch cooked some things for lunch for work, I find this all really helps. You what they say, Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail :)